What’s Your Favorite Version of A Christmas Carol?


Yep, it’s that time of year — every TV channel churns out another version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Movie theaters even get in on the act with different takes on the holiday classic. So on this anniversary of the story’s first publication in 1843, let’s pit the best-known versions against each other in a holiday smackdown. Of course, we’re only looking at the ones set in Dickens’ own 19th century, so modern adaptions and questionable cartoon renditions don’t count. Scrooges from George C. Scott to Patrick Stewart to Albert Finney will duke it out as you are the ultimate Christmas judge!




Did we miss a beloved historical Christmas Carol film or TV adaption? Add it in the comments!


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Three historical costumers who decided the world needed a podcast and blog dedicated to historical costume movies and everything right and wrong with them.

34 Responses

  1. LadySlippers

    Truth be told, none of the filmed versions are my favourite. Sorry!

    I grew up in Minnesota (the LadySlipper is the official state flower) and we often were bussed to see this play every year at the Guthrie Theatre. I love seeing this on stage! Those tend to be the versions I prefer. 💖

  2. LydiaR

    I am strangely obsessed with this story and every year I try to watch as many different versions as I possibly can. My first favorite was George C. Scott, but Patrick Stewart is slowly gaining more love from me. I always have to go with The Muppets, though, because it’s The Muppets! That version is actually one of the most faithful to the original story (and Michael Caine said it was one of his favorite roles he ever played). I’ll watch any version that comes on tv, though (except Jim Carrey – once was enough for me).

    What surprises me is that fanatical as I am about this story, I never knew there was a version with Michael Hordern! I’ll have to search that one out – he’s wonderful.

    I also love that Liz Smith played the same role in both the George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart versons.

    • mkaufmann2009

      I’ve not been able to to bring myself to watch the Jim Carrey version.

    • Frannie Germeshausen

      I also enjoy watching the different versions. Each is good in its own way. I clearly need to find the Muppet one. I had heard that Michael Caine played his role as if everyone was real, so the performance is as true as you could want.

    • Rowan

      I went to the one man performance of Patrick Stewart reading the story on stage. It is worth getting the audio version for a listen. His voice is soothing to listen to.

  3. Carmen Beaudry

    My absolute favorite was a set of 78 rpm records with Lionel Barrymore doing a dramatic reading/acting of it. There hasn’t been a filmed version to match it. That man had a voice.

  4. crystabrittany

    I’m so glad the Muppets made the cut, because it’s one of my favorite Christmas movies in general! It does such a great job telling the story but still being a bit Muppet-silly. If I had to stick with a completely-human cast, I’d go with Patrick Stewart, hands down, because… well… rawr.

  5. Northcountrygal

    Alastair Sim – by a mile. And not just him either – EVERYONE in that movie was wonderful and so was the production itself. I must watch it every year just before Christmas (with a box of tissues when “Barbara Allen” starts to play at the end. .

  6. MrsC (Maryanne)

    Michael Hordern for the win!!! The man is just the best. But I still think my favourite version is a musical written by a friend of mine that we did 35 years ago – it was wonderful.

    • Janette

      Yay. I was wondering if I was the only person who voted for that version.

  7. Guest

    I voted the Muppet version, but the one that fills me with the most christmas joy has to be the Mickey Mouse one😊

  8. Andrew B

    Each version has its charms (Jim Carrey aside–I can’t watch anything he does without danger of cerebral leakage). What all of them lack, the Muppets aside, is the Narrator. He is the most witty, engaging and interesting character in the book and has all the best lines. In Heaven, the film will star Alastair Sim as Scrooge, Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit…and me as the Narrator

    • Kristine

      I totally agree! The best thing about the story is Dickens’ writing. People who have watched all of the film versions but haven’t read the book are truly missing out.

  9. Danielle Fredrickson

    The Muppets one is the best for me, because it really is faithful to the book, and HOW are the costumes better than on 80% of anything else ever produced???? I don’t get it. So much beautiful tartan.
    Also the songs are genuinely good. And Michael Caine is just amazing.

  10. Gail

    I had the privilege of seeing Patrick Stewart perform his “One Man Christmas Carol” on state in NYC ages ago … and nothing can top that. It was him, a stool, and not much else. When he took his bow, he stood there, and held out a copy of the novel. The kind of theater experience you remember.

  11. broughps

    Got to go with Muppet Christmas Carol followed closely by Aslastair Sims.

    • Ian

      The latest BBC Adaptation with Guy Pearce is perhaps my favorite. The entire aesthetic is deliciously dark, like the ghost story it is!

  12. Lady Hermina De Pagan

    I guess I’m going to show my age here, but aside from the Muppets version ( the most faithful to the book), I adore the Mr. Magoo version, because, Mr. Magoo……

    • teamstewie

      YES! I remember that being on every year and i still love it. Mr Magoo rocks!

  13. revknits

    I voted for the Muppets – so faithful story-wise – and does anyone else remember the Mr. Magoo animated version – so funny and poignant too!

  14. Janette

    For me a close call between the Michael Hordern version and the Patrick Stewart one. i usually try and watch both every year but ran out of time this year. I only just got through the Dr Who Christmas specials before seasonal chores took over. Years ago the BBC did an adaptation of another Dickens ghost story, The signalman, which though not Christmassy, is one I try to watch at this time of year as well.
    I agree with the comment re’ Dickens writing but must confess to not having read A christmas Carol partly because my version is about the size of a twenty cent (au) piece and in very fragile condition. (printed in 1907) I was discussing it in a writing group podcast last week, as my favourite book which I have never read.

  15. MoHub

    I do wish you had included Blackadder’s Christmas Carol, if only for Miriam Margolyes and Jim Broadbent as Victoria and Albert. I know it’s not the actual Dickens, but it’s my favorite after Sim.

    • India Edghill

      I second that! Also the play “Twist Your Dickens” is a rare holiday treat — see it if you can.

  16. woostersauce2014

    For me its between the Muppets and Patrick Stewart versions, the former is faithful to the text and Michael Caine delivered some of his best acting here.

    However seeing the others listed makes me want to see them as well.

  17. Mrs. D

    So, no love for poor Albert Finney and Scrooge. As much as I love the Muppets, I had to pick that one because it was the one that introduced me to the story. Back in olden days of the early 1980s, they used to run that one on Saturdays after Saturday-morning cartoons in my area. I watched it every time, cuddled up in the big, red rocking chair in my jammies.

  18. angharad

    Well, now I need to see the Patrick Stewart version. I am most fond of the Albert Finney version and the Muppet Christmas Carol.

  19. Kaite

    Hordern, Caine and Stewart. Though my favorite is seeing it on stage. It’s a family tradition to go to this local theatre each year! We drink hot chocolate and it never gets old. Even though I can’t stand Christmas music in general, I will always enjoy this play!

  20. Lauren

    The one that I love is a recent addition. It’s “Christmas Carol Goes Wrong”. The production company (Mischief Theatre) is one of my all time favorites.